Jodie Foster made one of her earliest screen appearances on Adam-12
Half a century later, the role still sticks in her mind.
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In the summer of 2018, Jodie Foster strutted onto the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live wearing a crimson suit and carrying a skull-tipped cane. She had recently injured her leg in a ski accident and she was working the late-night circuit to promote her latest film, the sci-fi noir Hotel Artemis. It was hard to fathom that her appearance was marking her 50th anniversary working in Hollywood. She made her debut in 1968 as a "Fairy" on Mayberry R.F.D.
Foster mentioned how she grew up "blocks away" from the talk show's studio, the El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. As a child, she lived on Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood. "[Mom] did not like us being on [Hollywood] Boulevard, as you can imagine in the '70s," Foster said with a laugh. "We would drive down the block and she would say, 'If I ever catch you on Hollywood Boulevard, don't ever come home.'"
If young Jodie Foster did not spend her time hanging on the Boulevard, she certainly spent a fair amount of her adolescence in nearby studios.
"I started [acting] when I was three," Foster explained to a stunned Kimmel. "My brother was an actor and he started because the kid across the street was an actor — and that's kind of what you did in Los Angeles." Her brother, Buddy, was a lead on Mayberry R.F.D., which explains how she landed that first gig.
"I did commercials and television," she continued. Kimmel asked her which TV shows she did. "Oh my gosh, all of them! I mean, every Seventies show — Nanny & The Professor or The Partridge Family or… yeah, and then Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Adam-12."
She was excited to be a part of them. "Oh, yeah! I was a full TV baby."
It's interesting to note that her 1970 turn on Adam-12 was one of the jobs that popped into her head decades later. Unlike her multiple appearances on, say, The Courtship of Eddie's Father or My Three Sons, she popped up just once on the cop procedural. You can find her in "Log 55: Missing Child," dressed in a blue and red sailor dress as "Mary Bennett." Her character is a witness to the "Missing Child," one Janet O'Neill who did not get off her bus at her typical stop, much to the worry of her mother (Coleen Gray).
The scene was a meeting of Hollywood Legend generations. Gray had a career stretching back to the 1940s. She starred in motion pictures from legendary directors Frank Capra (Riding High) and Stanley Kubrick (The Killing). Foster would, years later, go on to win the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film.
It just goes to show you the kind of fascinating things Officers Reed and Malloy find on their beat.